Tennis

‘Novak Djokovic took that risk and…’, says top coach

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Tommy Paul surprised everyone at the Australian Open and achieved the best result of his career. The American had a fantastic run and reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. Only Novak Djokovic, later winner of the Australian Major, put an end to his dream. Paul, in the first game, leveled the score after trailing 5-1 and managed to cancel out a set point in the reply. In the twelfth game, however, Djokovic again pressed from behind and dominated the exchanges. In the second and third games, the Belgrade player no longer allowed his rival to make a dent and closed with a resounding 6-1-6-2. After scoring a valuable Davis Cup victory against Khumoyun Sultanov and lifting the USA to 2-0, Paul spoke of the semi-final against the Serb and his growth. “Djokovic is an incredible player. He made me look bad at the Australian Open. He’s obviously playing fantastic tennis. When I was in Australia, I exchanged several messages with Reilly Opelka. He gave me very good advice on all the adversaries. Every morning when I woke up, he would send me a long message explaining what to do against certain tennis players. I think I’ll keep in touch with him (laughs). Now I’m excited to be here and help my team in this competition,” the American told the official Davis Cup website.

Popovic comments on Djokovic

Five days after Novak Djokovic’s 10th crown at the Australian Open, the way he got this success is still talking. Tournament director Craig Tiley revealed the Serb played with a three centimeter tear, slightly less than in 2021 when he also triumphed in Melbourne despite an abdominal injury. Corentin Moutet’s new coach, Petar Popovic, gave his opinion on the subject for L’Equipe. “If it hadn’t been a Grand Slam, Novak wouldn’t have played. But since he is chasing records in the race for the best of all time, he took that risk and did an incredible thing. There are a lot of stakes to become the “GOAT”, you have to make this sacrifice. Novak knows that Australia is the Major where he plays best. It’s the same for Rafa at Roland, his garden. He won’t do that (put his foot to sleep) at Wimbledon. It’s normal I think. But they’re not the only ones doing this. At least 50% of guys have a problem arriving at a Grand Slam. Many play with ‘painkillers’ (painkillers, editor’s note).”

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